Matthew 25:27 You should therefore to have put my money...

KJV Verse: 

Mat 25:27 Thou oughtest therefore to have put my money to the exchangers, and then at my coming I should have received mine own with usury.

Greek Verse: 

Literal Alternative: 

It was really necessary for you to toss my cash to the grinders, [to put my money on deposit with the bankers] and, coming [at the time], I would have gotten that which is mine back along with what it gives birth to.

Interesting and Hidden Aspects: 

There are a number of words here that are uncommon for Christ to use but have useful double meanings in this context. Christ doesn't use these elsewhere, except here or in this story and in Luke 19:23. Some are made-up words. This is a common feature in Christ's use of humor as we move from the narrative to the "pay-off." Unfortunately, this type of humor is difficult to cap

The first word here, translated as "oughtest" isn't like any of our common verbs in English. It is a little like we use the word "must" but the subject is not the person who "must" do something. The sense is similar "it is necessary" or, in this case, "it is necessary for you." "You" is the object of this verb, however, not an indirect object as in the English version. It is in a tense, we usually translate as the past.

The Greek word translated as "therefore" either emphasizes the truth of something ("certainly", "really") or it simply continues an existing narrative. Here, it is used for emphasis, not to continue what Christ was saying. This matches with the negatives Christ uses in the previous verse (Mat 25:26 ), which also have the sense of "really."

The word translated as "to have put" has a number of meanings revolving around "throw" as we do in English with both "throw" and "toss." This is a common word for Christ to use humorously. When applied to money, it has to the specific meaning of "putting money on deposit." However, it is used before the mention of money, so what the readers would hear initially is "toss."

The word translated as "to the exchanger" is a made-up word from the Greek word that now means "bank". Christ only uses it here and the word itself is not used elsewhere in Greek. However, the source word, bank" has the primary meaning of "table" or "counter". which originally meant "table" from the "tables" or "counters" of money-changers. However, it is not the Greek word used elsewhere in the NT translated as "money-changers." This word is used because it is a pun, since the word for "bank" also means the grinding surface of teeth and the lower mill stone which grinds grain. So the sense here is the "grinders" or "bankers".

There is no "then" in the source.

The word translated as "at my coming primarily means "to start out" but Christ usually uses it to mean "come" but not always. Here it is an adjective "coming" modifying the "I" that follows. It is in the form indicating something that happens at a certain point of time.

The pronoun "I" is used here. Since, as the subject of the sentence, it is part of the verb and is unnecessary. Its explicit use accentuates who is speaking "I" and Christ uses it usually for humorous effect. Here, it refers back to the earlier criticism made of the lord.

Another uncommon verb is translated as "have received" primarily means "to take care of" but it also means "to get back" which works in this context. It also means "to receive," but Christ has another word he common uses for that idea.\

The word translated as "with" is also not from the word Christ uses to say "with." It is from a preposition that Christ rarely uses that means "along with" and, when referring to things "attached to" and "by means of." The last meaning makes sense here.

The word translated as "usury" primarily means "childbirth" but specifically to the gestation period in the womb. You can see how the ide of bank interest arose from growth in the womb as a kind of slang. Money gives birth to more money. The word itself is a good summary of this verse.

Greek Vocabulary: 

ἔδει (verb 3rd sg imperf ind act) "Oughtest" is from, dei, which means "needful," and "there is need."

σε (pron 2nd sg acc) "Thou" is from se which is the plural form of su the pronoun of the second person, "you." -- The "you" here is plural, indicating all Christ's listeners.

οὖν "Therefore" is from oun, which means "certainly", "in fact", "really", "in fact," "so" and "then" (continuing a narrative), and "then" and "therefore."

βαλεῖν (verb aor inf act) "To have put" is from ballo, which means "to throw", "to let fall," "to cast," "to put", "to pour", "to place money on deposit", "push forward or in front [of animals]", "to shed", "to place", "to pay,"to throw [of dice,]" "to be lucky", "to fall", "to lay as foundation", "to begin to form", "to dash oneself with water," and "to bathe."

τὰ ἀργύριά [uncommon] (noun sg neut acc) "Money" is from argyrion, which means "small coin", "piece of money", "money", "cash", and "silver." -- The word translated as "money" is very uncommon for Christ. It means "money" in the sense we use the term "cash," referring to the actual metal "silver."

μου (noun sg masc gen) "My" is from mou, which mean "my," or "mine."

τοῖς (article pl masc dat) τραπεζείταις, [rare](noun pl masc dat) "To the exchangers" is from trapezites, which means "money changer", "banker," and "broker." This is a "coined" word from trapeza, the Greek word for "bank".

καὶ "And" is from kai, which is the conjunction joining phrases and clauses, "and," or "but." After words implying sameness, "as" (the same opinion as you). Used in series, joins positive with negative "Not only...but also." Also used to give emphasis, "even", "also," and "just."

ἐλθὼν (part sg aor act masc nom) "At my coming" is from erchomai, which means "to start," "to set out", "to come", "to go," and any kind of motion. It means both "to go" on a journey and "to arrive" at a place.

ἐγὼ (pron 1st sg masc nom) "I" is from ego, which is the first person singular pronoun meaning "I". It also means "I at least", "for my part", "indeed," and for myself.

ἐκομισάμην (verb 1st sg aor ind mid) "Have...received" is from komizo, which means "to take care of", "to provide for", "to receive", "to treat", "to carry away as so to preserve", "to convey", "to get back", "to recover," and "to return."

ἂν "Should be" is from an, which is a particle used with verbs to indicate that the action is limited by circumstances or defined by conditions. There is no exact equivalent in English, but it is translated as "possibly," "would have", "might", "should," and "could."

τὸ ἐμὸν (adj sg masc acc) "Mine own" is from mou, which mean "my," or "mine."

σὺν [uncommon](prep) "With" is from syn, which means "along with", "in company with", "together with", "together", of things "attached to", as an instrument "by means of",

τόκῳ. [uncommon](noun sg masc dat) "Usury" is from tokos, which means "childbirth", "the time of childbirth", "period of gestation", "offspring", "produce of money," and "interest."

The Spoken Version: 

"It was really necessary," he continued sternly, "for you to toss my cash to the grinders."

The crowd laughed because this was a slang way of saying "put my money on deposit with the bankers.

"So and, at my coming, I," he continued, emphasizing the word. "Might have gotten back what is mine back..."

Here, he paused, rubbing his hands together in the fashion of a banker and said greedily, "Along with what it gives birth to."

The followers laughed.

Related Verses: 

Oct 12 2016